In the aftermath of the election results, so many people I speak to are still reeling in disbelief. Fatigued by the 24-hour spin cycle from cable news dissecting the results and trying to find various statistics to blame. Some people have taken social media breaks. Others have unfriended family and folks who just don’t share the same views. And still, others shout for us to calm down and “give him a chance.”
Well, sorry, but nope on that last one.
In the first week since becoming president-elect, Donald Trump has proven to be pretty good at making really bad choices for our country and the name of inclusivity and progress. An anti-Semite as your chief strategist, check. A man who couldn’t get approved as a Federal judge in the 90’s because he was SO racist as your State Attorney General, check. And honestly, the list continues, but I just can’t.
So here are 5 few things we can do to make sure we are staying woke, staying curious, and staying active.
Never normalize. Do you remember the first few days after the election when it didn’t seem real? That uneasy feeling you had about the direction of our country and what this could mean for the future? Hold on to that. This election was not only historically unprecedented, but it also was and continues to be a threat to the values our country is supposed to protect. A fact that might provide a small piece of consolation is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by enormous margins. It sometimes helps to remember the majority of Americans did not vote for racism, sexism, and xenophobia. As the news cycle continues to spin the hateful and bigoted acts of the president-elect into ordinary political rhetoric, #Resist. Don’t turn a blind eye or rationalize that “it could be worse.” There is no gray scale for hate. Don’t tolerate any of it.
Poke and Probe. You know when children are young and are full of endless questions about everything? It’s exhausting, but it’s the best way for them to engage with the world around them. We need to take a lesson from kids on this one and not stop asking questions. Tough questions, obvious questions, genuine questions— everything is fair game because we are invested in the world around us and we deserve answers. It’s tiring, but important for democracy. Ask the questions enough and governing bodies will be forced to answer. We deserve transparency. Oh, and for everyone saying we are being “sore losers” for asking questions and feeling angry…check out #3.
Drop the Good Girl Act. Sometimes telling women they are “too angry” is really code for “Be a good girl and be nice.” Well, it’s not nice to paint a swastika on a park bench or tag “Heil Trump” on inclusive churches. It’s not nice to openly mock a disabled person or grab a woman by her “p***y”. So you know what, I’m dropping the good girl act and I’m feeling angry. It’s an emotion like any other and it has the power to drive us to action. I am not skirting this emotion because it makes others uncomfortable. Being oppressed but well-liked shouldn’t be the measure of any woman. Be vocal and make your point no matter who is in the room.
Honor the Self. We spend so much time working on ourselves. We learn to let go of the negative. We say we want to accept positive vibes only. But recognize that you can still practice self-care and self-love while expressing opposition. It is my love for humanity right now that fuels my righteous anger right now. When you see an injustice done, you should allow yourself to feel that rage because it comes from a place of love and compassion for others. You can also transmute that energy by taking action. Let the feeling bring you into a place of momentum – which brings us to #5.
Put Your Money Where Your Passion Is: If you want to mobilize the areas of social justice you care about, consider making a financial contribution (of any size). These organizations need your support now more than ever. And if you can’t financially donate, call and ask how you can give some time to volunteer. There are petitions galore circling around (and quite frankly I sign most of them) and lots of articles on calling your reps (which I’ve also done). But I also need to feel like I am aligning my emotions with action right now and so the organizations below are just a few that I’ll be making donations to this holiday season!
Southern Poverty Law Center
National Resources Defense Council
Everytown for Gun Safety
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Black Lives Matter
Stand with Standing Rock
Yours in Anger and Action,